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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 11/30/21

Guests: Betsy Woodruff Swan, Jena Griswold, Stuart Stevens, Chris Murphy


The January 6 insurrection just released a report within the last hour recommending that former Department of Justice Official Jeffrey Clark be held in contempt over his refusal to cooperate with a committee subpoena. Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit gilled Trump lawyers for trying to block January 6 documents. A new report in the Washington Post found that supporters of the big lie that the election was stolen are quietly working their way into key election positions across the country. There`s another video that surfaced on Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert`s bigoted comments about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Fundamental. And learning history is important and worthy. And book banners are the absolute worst.

And that`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

JUSTIN CLARK, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: Before you get to that analysis, one is the critical need analysis in terms of --


HAYES: The Former President`s Executive Privilege claims get their day in court.

ROBERT WILKINS, CIRCUIT JUDGE, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT: The court didn`t listen to the tapes before they determined that privilege had been waived in Nixon.

HAYES: Tonight, big news from the January 6th Committee. Mark Meadows is cooperating, Jeffrey Clark is not, and what we learned at today`s important hearing over White House Records.

BOYNTON: In no other respect that we`re aware of, does a former president have the ability to block something the current president wants to do.

HAYES: Then, ominous new reporting on the MAGA replacement of local election officials across the country.

Plus, how the troll caucus found a new Republican they`d like to cancel today.

And Sen. Chris Murphy on the latest school shooting in Michigan and why America chooses to let this happen. When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The bipartisan committee investigating the January 6 insurrection just released a report within the last hour recommending that former Department of Justice Official Jeffrey Clark be held in contempt over his refusal to cooperate with a committee subpoena.

Clark has had a lengthy career as a kind of archetypal Republican lawyer in and out of government, worked at the prestigious law firm Kirkland and Ellis which serves as something of a breeding ground for Republican judges and lawyers, also worked in the George W. Bush administration.

Honestly, a kind of nondescript bureaucrat, political appointee, not a household name. Washington runs on these people more or less, except this guy, this under the radar lawyer, that man that we showed you on the screen is the single person who more than anyone, say for Donald Trump himself, came closest to pulling off an actual coup earlier this year.

Jeffrey Clark, you may remember, he served as the acting head of the Civil Division of the DOJ under Trump, a position he kind of fell backwards into, his people left. And it was in that position that he hatched a plot to oust then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, become AG himself with trump`s support, and then use the full power of the Department of Justice to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Had he succeeded, if it had gone off it, almost certainly would have thrown the country into a full-blown constitutional crisis, as the committee puts it in that new report. "According to documents and testimony gathered by the Select Committee in the weeks leading up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Jeffrey Bossert Clark participated in efforts to delegitimize the results of the 2020 presidential election and delay or interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.

After numerous courts throughout the United States has resoundingly rejected, alleged voter fraud challenges to the election results by the Trump campaign and after all states had certified their respective election results, Mr. Clark proposed that the Department of Justice send a letter to officials of the State of Georgia and other states suggesting they call special legislative sessions to investigate allegations of voter fraud and consider appointing new slates of electors.

Mr. Clark also met with White House officials including then-President Trump to discuss efforts to delegitimize, disrupt, or overturn the election results. The Select Committee believes that Mr. Clark had conversations with others in the federal government including Members of Congress regarding efforts to delegitimize, disrupt, or overturn the election results in the weeks leading up to January 6."

Now, Clark stonewalled that subpoena request. He showed up -- he didn`t just blow them off like Bannon. He showed up but he refused to answer substantive questions. And that`s why the Select Committee is now moving forward to recommend finding him in contempt of Congress.

It is worth noting that unlike former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon who was indicted on counts of contempt of Congress earlier this month, Clark actually has a more plausible claim to legitimate executive privilege. I mean, he at least was on the payroll, actually worked for then-President Donald Trump at the time in question and was advising him in some official capacity.

Although, as the committee points out in its report today, "The law is clear that executive privilege does not extend to discussions relating to non-governmental business. And it appears as though Trump`s blanket privilege invocations may be falling apart in real-time.

Today, an appeals court in Washington heard arguments from his lawyers about those very claims specifically as they pertain to documents that the 1-6 Committee is requesting. The judges were, to say the least, skeptical of the idea that a former president could claim executive privilege when the current president, Joe Biden, has waived in. Especially considering the Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that records from former President Nixon`s time in office could be turned over to the National Archives despite his claims of privilege.



CLARK: You have two steps prior to that that a court needs to review before you get to that analysis. One is the critical need analysis in terms of --

MILLETT: Stop, please stop. Please stop because where -- here`s where we`ve been, I thought, through this argument. Former president, president are at loggerheads as to the interest of the executive branch in the United States. And the incumbent president wins that debate under Nixon versus GSA, right? It gets to make that call under Nixon versus GSA. The former president just isn`t in a position to do that.

And then you say, well, now, let`s look at the document to see if they really are executive privilege. It doesn`t matter.

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT: Why should the former president be the one to make that determination? If we are looking at this as a who decides kind of question, is there a circumstance in which the former president ever gets to make this kind of call? And why should he?


HAYES: So, you can hear the skepticism there in the -- in the articulations of the judges on the receiving end of the former President`s arguments. It appears there`s some progress being made on getting to a full public record of what Donald Trump and his fellow coup plotters are up to despite all of their efforts and desire to hide their communications leading up to the deadly insurrection.

Just today, the Guardian published new reporting about an alleged phone call that then-President Trump made to the so-called war room which was pushing his big lie of election fraud just hours before the insurrection itself where he reportedly stressed to his allies how he wanted to delay the certification of Biden`s victory in Congress.

We should note, that reporting is based on anonymous sources and it has not been confirmed by NBC News. I don`t know whether that`s going to bear out or not. But the question of whether it is true or what extent Trump was talking with those folks is exactly the purpose of this undertaking.

It`s why Congressional oversight into the attempted coup is so important. And it`s why the information has to be brought to light. So, it can be confirmed and brought to the public`s attention, because the threat`s not going away. Trump is likely to run for president again in 2024. And the American public deserves to know exactly how close he came to pulling it off to dismantling American democracy in his last days in power.

Betsy Woodruff Swans is the national correspondent for Politico where she`s been covering the developments in January 6 Committee`s investigation and she joins me now. Betsy, can you give me a little background, I guess, on the Clark situation, a little different than Bannon for a few different reasons, a more colorable claim to privilege and he didn`t -- he did show up. He didn`t just blow them of. What can you tell us about the committee`s deliberations about arriving at this recommendation?

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: The biggest problem for Clark which is a problem Bannon actually didn`t have is that even though Trump would have had firmer ground to assert executive privilege as it relates to Clark, Trump didn`t actually do that.

Trump ghosted on Jeffrey Clark. The last communication that Trump and his legal team sent to Jeffrey Clark, according to clark himself, was on August 2nd of this year. And in that communication, Trump said he would not go to court to block Clark from talking to Congressional investigators.

Fast forward to mid-October, the Select Committee issues a subpoena saying Clark has to talk to congressional investigators. Clark gets no word from Trump. Fast forward a couple weeks, Clark goes into the deposition still radio silence from Trump and his lawyers.

Trump couldn`t be bothered to take five minutes to type out an e-mail saying I believe Jeffrey Clark would violate my executive privilege if he talks to Congress. Jeffrey Clark, I don`t want you to go in. Trump has not done that. We know Trump has not done that because the transcript of Clark`s deposition, "deposition" with these congressional investigators where he refused to answer questions, in that deposition, Clark`s lawyer confirms they haven`t heard from Trump for months. Trump is not helping him.

If you`re a prosecutor at the Department of Justice and you`re trying to decide whether or not someone has a leg to stand on when it comes to citing executive privilege, and the person who owns that privilege arguably, the former executive, isn`t even trying to assert it in your case. How do you not bring charges for Contempt of Congress? In Clark`s case, I think he may actually be on thinner ice than Bannon is for that specific reason Trump is not helping him.


HAYES: That`s a great, great point, an important one. There`s another development as well, I understand it, with respect to the former chief of staff Mark Meadows who had been in a kind of liminal space of cooperation and non-cooperation. And subsequent now to the Bannon indictment, Bannon has now been indicted, and we get this report today, it appears that Meadows is cooperating. Is that correct?

SWAN: That`s right. Now, cooperating -- there`s a wide range of activity that can fit within that word. It can range all the way from providing a limited amount of documents and text messages all the way up to sitting for a sworn deposition. Our understanding right now is that Meadows is at least cooperating with the committee on this -- on the smaller end of that cooperation spectrum.

We know he`s turned over tons and tons of e-mails and other written communications. We don`t know the contents of those e-mails and communications. We also are hearing different things from meadows than what we`re hearing from the committee itself about the actual verbal interview, question and answer session, that Meadows is going to do with the committee.

Members of the Select Committee have said he`s going to come in next week. They`ve used the term deposition. That means it would be under oath. It means if Meadows lied, he would be liable for prosecution by the Justice Department. But Meadows and his lawyer have signalled that they don`t actually want to do a sworn deposition. So, there`s a gap there between the verbiage that they`re using.

But what we do know for sure is that in recent days, Meadows has essentially flipped from stiff-arming the committee to engaging and to trying to be helpful. And presumably, the reason for that is that he doesn`t want to get the Bannon treatment, he doesn`t want to get charged. He`s trying to somehow meet the committee in the middle and be helpful, and there`s no question that that has the potential to be a substantial breakthrough for investigators.

HAYES: All right, Betsy Woodruff Swan, thank you very much. That was illuminating.

I want to bring in now Barbara McQuade, professor at the University of Michigan law school, also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. And on this question of privilege, Barbara, I want to read to you the headline of the Politico write-out.

Now, we should say, questions during oral arguments don`t always correlate to the opinions, but the write-up today, Appeals Court judges poised to reject Trump`s effort to withhold Jan 6 documents. I got to say, if you`ve listened to the audio, it sure sounded like it. How did it sound to you?

BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I agree with that, Chris. They -- I think, you know, skepticism understates the degree to which they seemed downright hostile to this argument. You played a clip there of a judge cutting off the lawyer for President Trump who not only were advancing losing arguments but they were also trying to stall.

They were saying things like this court should look at each individual document, document by document, and that`s when the judge said well, well, we`re not looking at these individual documents which would take months and months and months. What she said was the question here is who gets to decide. Is it the current president or a former president. And they seem very skeptical of this idea that a former president can decide.

And in fact, they also suggested that it`s quite possible that even the court shouldn`t be deciding this case and instead simply deferring to the current president, President Biden.

HAYES: Yeah. They kept citing there`s no conflict between the branches in this case. That to the extent that the court is there to adjudicate those kinds of intergovernmental -- inter-branch conflicts, there`s no -- you know, both branches are great, President and Congress.

To your point about there was at one point where the Trump`s lawyers raised the sort of bizarre notion to me that the -- that a judge or judges themselves should go through the documents and review them, which seemed like a strange proposal for a bunch of reasons. And here`s Judge Wilkins responding to that, basically saying we can reach the question before we get to that. Take a listen.


WILKINS: I don`t see anything -- I`m sorry counselor, but there`s nothing in the statute that says that the privileged determination has to be made on a document-by-document basis. What we have in our precedent, and you know, the court didn`t listen to the tapes before they determined that privilege had been waived in Nixon, didn`t have to listen to the tapes to determine whether, you know, there was a privilege or the privilege was overcome.

They knew basically what was the subject matter discussed in the tapes and they knew what the legislative or the purpose was for the grand jury to have the tapes and they made the call.


HAYES: So, that`s Wilkins sort of laying out that argument. What did you make of that proposal by Trump`s lawyers which seemed to me a bizarre one?


MCQUADE: Yes, it really struck me as just a flat out effort to stall. Because they know that if the court has to methodically go through each and every one of these documents, it`s going to take a very long time. You know, sometimes that happens when we have attorney-client privilege where there is some question as to whether documents are privileged.

We saw that when we had the search warrant executed at Michael Cohen`s law office where a retired judge was appointed to be a special master and to review those documents. But this is a very different matter. This is about separation of powers. We`ve got as you said uh the legislative branch and the executive branch agreeing what we have is a former president trying to intervene and tell the executive branch what to do.

And so, that I think is why this document by document review is a non- starter. The question really is who gets to make this decision.

HAYES: I guess the real question here is that, you know, there`s the law and then there`s whether you can count to five on the Supreme Court which is another way of saying the law. Not to be overly cynical or a legal realist on this, but it just seems to me that transparently the play here by the Trump attorneys is get to the Supreme Court where they think they can count to five, meaning they can get five justices to go along with them, and or delay as long as possible.

MCQUADE: Yes. I think delay is the first part of the tactic here because, you know, there is a real clock ticking here and that is the Midterm Elections. If the Republicans should take control of the House, then they can shut down this whole investigation. So, that I think is the real stall tactic.

And then, of course, there is some hope that the Supreme Court that has this six-three conservative majority might be friendly to President Trump, maybe those who got their seats because of President Trump. But I`m not -- I`m not quite that cynical just yet. And I think for these uh Justices of the Supreme Court who take this really broad view of executive power, they should be backing up President Biden when he says he wants to waive executive privilege because he thinks that`s in the best interest of the country.

If they really mean what they say when they talk about this broad executive power, then that means they should be supporting the view of President Biden, the sitting president.

HAYES: All right, Barbara McQuade, that was really, really clarifying. Thank you very much.

MCQUADE: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, how the next attempted insurrection may already be underway, only this time it doesn`t involve bulletproof vests and bear spray or smashing through the halls of the Capitol. Instead, it is happening quietly and efficiently in election offices around the country. The slow motion insurrection that could dismantle the guard rails of democracy after this.



HAYES: We have been covering quite relentlessly the January 6 insurrection on this show for this year and for good reason. It was the worst attack on our democracy, the most existential threat to the peaceful transfer of power since arguably since the civil war.

And now, many people are focused on the investigation to that day. But while that`s happening, there is of course a parallel story of what continues to happen, the sort of slow-motion insurrection being carried out by Republicans in suits and ties in states all across the country.

It is at the very least an attempt to make the next insurrection easier if it comes to that. And it`s largely a local push that is successful could make it so there will be no need for all this stuff you`ve seen, the storming at the Capitol the next time around, no need to rely on someone like Mike Pence to snatch away the results. Because the people they need to help deliver the election will be right there on the front lines where the voting`s happening to do that work for them.

A new report in the Washington Post found that supporters of the big lie that the election was stolen are quietly working their way into key election positions across the country. In states like Michigan where local Republicans are appointing state canvassing board members who "expressed sympathy for former President Donald Trump`s false claims the 2020 vote was rigged or in Pennsylvania we`re already in two counties, "candidates who embraced election fraud allegations won races this month to become local voting judges and inspectors."

And in Colorado where 2020 election skeptics are urging their followers on conservative social media platforms to apply for jobs in election offices. Because we administer our elections locally here in the United States, folks on the front lines like these would be well-positioned to mess around with stuff to attempt to subvert the election results the next time around

It`s all becoming so ominous that state election officials are now sounding the alarm. In Colorado, secretary of state Jena Griswold told the Post, the attack right now are no longer -- attacks right now are no longer about 2020, they`re about 2022 and 2024. It`s about chipping away at confidence and chipping away at the reality of safe and secure elections. The next time there`s a close election it will be easier to achieve their goals. That`s what this is all about.

And Jena Griswold, Colorado`s Secretary of State joins me now. It`s good to have you. Can you explain a little more about what you mean by that? Like, in a point-by-point way what that means. Because I think the plumbing of American elections is basically hidden behind the walls and we don`t really know how it works. And we got to sort of look at it getting exposed in that period between the election in January 6 and there`s a lot of people going to work on that plumbing right now. So, what is your fear? What do you see happening?

JENA GRISWOLD, SECRETARY OF STATE, COLORADO: Well, Chris thanks for having me on. I wish it was on a brighter topic than this. But what I mean is that the misinformation, the lies have fueled real action. We`re seeing a three- part attack on elections.

First and foremost, misinformation, election lies, the big lie has led to voter suppression. Over 500 bills considered across the nation, over 30 adopted to make it harder for Americans to have their voices heard. But on top of that, the same conspiracy theories are also leading to an attack on confidence, so voters are less likely to believe their elections were safe and secure, and also incentivizes election officials or people who work in election offices to become insider threats to try to destroy the systems from inside.

And so, what I mean is that in 2022 and 2024, we`re likely to see in many states it`s harder for Americans to cast a ballot. We are likely to see increased insider threats where either county clerks, secretaries of state, or other election officials are trying to undermine the process for which - - from within. And the next time we have a January 6, there won`t be as many good people to stand up and to stop it and uphold the will of the people.


HAYES: So, there`s an example of this that happened in your state in Mesa County. County Clerk Tina Peters and her deputy, they have been accused of sneaking someone into the county election offices to copy the hard drives of Dominion voting systems machines.

Now, again, this is after the election actually happened that they did this, but this was someone who appeared to believe in the big lie and who was an administrator of elections, is now I believe facing charges. I`m curious what having that happen in your state has done to how you think about this.

GRISWOLD: Well, I think it should really be an alarm for the entire country because Colorado is considered the best state in which to cast a ballot with the best cyber security. And luckily, our security is so good that we were able to get in front of this issue. But you know, when the county clerk decided to embrace the big lie and compromise the voting equipment to try to prove conspiracies, I was there to decertify the election and ask a judge to bar her.

But since then, just this year, we`ve seen two other insider threats already. It`s very likely spreading across the country. At this point, over 700 Republicans are running for office including 500 at the state level who are embracing the big lie. So, we`re likely to have more insider threats and I think it`s just paramount for states to very quickly harden their cyber security to brace from insider threats.

But also, just as equally important, to elect the people who oversee state elections, secretaries of state, to elect people who believe in democracy. That is going to be crucial in 2022.

HAYES: There`s kind of a Democratic riddle at the core of this or a paradox, right, which is to say if there`s a free and fair election in a state, you know, that elects a person who believes in the big lie, then that person is imbued with democratic legitimacy and the power to oversee a state election which they in some deep sense can`t be trusted in a normative sense to wield, but then that`s what will happen. And that`s a -- that`s -- in a state like Arizona, that`s I think a real possibility.

GRISWOLD: Well, I think Joanna Lydgate from States United said it the best. Electing people who are trying to chip away at democracy as secretaries of -- as a secretary of state is like electing or putting in place an arsonist to oversee a Fire Department.

It is crucial that two things happen very quickly. Number one, that the senate passes democracy reform to ensure that the voter suppression attempts, the attempts to chip away at democracy are pushed back against. But also, Americans have the ability to safeguard democracy, and that`s by paying special attention to 2022 to ensure that people who are elected as secretaries of state and county election officials believe in fact, will uphold the will of the people even if they don`t like the outcomes.

HAYES: Jena Griswold, Secretary of State of the State of Colorado, thank you very much.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, the sales numbers are in for Chris Christie`s guidebook to redeeming the Republican Party and we`ll let you guess how that turned out.

In totally unrelated news, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are trying to destroy one of their Republican colleagues for saying bigotry is bad. We`ll be right back.



HAYES: If you are an author about to publish a book, I highly recommend hiring the people doing publicity for Chris Christie. The former New Jersey Governor got an incredible amount of media attention over the past few weeks speaking to nearly every network about his new book on "Rescuing the Republican Party."


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: Chris Christie is calling on the GOP to get its act together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love the title of your book. Chris Christie: Republican Rescue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a great book. You can tell that you actually wrote it.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: It`s plain language. It`s not lawyer language and hopefully, people will read it will understand it.

All I`m saying in this book is we have to stop looking backwards. That`s the point of the book. That`s the message of the book. The whole center part of the book is about all these conspiracy theories, QAnon, and Pizzagate, and Birtherism, and the election stuff. There`s no truth to any of this stuff.

And that`s what the book tries to start to do, put the past behind us. We need to get back to thinking about how you win. Stop Republican on Republican violence and that`s what a lot about the book is about. If we want to be a winning party again, we got to look forwards and go after Joe Biden.


HAYES: Now, not all the interviews went so well. You may have caught his appearance on "DEADLINE: WHITE HOUSE" with my colleague Nicolle Wallace.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: The book is called -- it`s about conspiracies and lies. And you really don`t take on Fox News. Why not?

CHRISTIE: Look, because the book was --

WALLACE: Have you seen the Tucker Carlson program?

CHRISTIE: -- no, because the book -- no, I don`t watch it but the book --

WALLACE: Are you aware of what he does?

CHRISTIE: Not really. I don`t pay a lot of attention to it. But I mean --

WALLACE: It`s a book with truth deniers, conspiracy theorists on the cover.


WALLACE: And you attack CNN and the New York Times and MSNBC and not Fox?

CHRISTIE: But -- excuse me, I don`t attack them as conspiracy theorists or truth deniers. I talk about bias.

WALLACE: Is bias more dangerous to the country than conspiracy theorists?

CHRISTIE: No, but that`s the third section of the book.

WALLACE: I don`t think it`s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.

CHRISTIE: Well, I could -- listen, then, you can write that in your book.

WALLACE: Well, I`m not trying to rescue the Republican Party.


HAYES: As the saying goes, I guess any press is good press and Chris Christie was getting all of it. The problem for Christie is that no matter how many times he repeats the message of his book on air, his argument for -- I don`t even know what you call it. Let`s say, not explicitly authoritarian, anti-democratic version of Republicanism, there`s no market for it.

A senior publishing source with access to the industry`s book scan tabulations told media reporter Eric Bullard that Christie`s book Republican Rescue sold just 2,289 copies during its first week in stores which constitutes a colossal publishing flop.


In comparison, Jonathan Karl`s new book betrayal sold 24,000 hardcover copies the same week as the Christie failure. In the Republican Party, what there is sadly a market for is bigotry and nastiness and bad racist stand- up comedy routines from people like Lauren Boebert. That`s the new grand old party. We`ll talk to Stuart Stevens about that next.


HAYES: Today, we have yet another turn in Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert`s bigoted comments about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. It appears that Boebert`s little made-up story about Omar is not an isolated incident.

In a video reportedly shot in Colorado last week, Boebert calls Congresswoman Omar, part of the "Jihad Squad" and then tells his vile false story about seeing Omar and a Capitol Police officer in an elevator. Like I said, it`s really offensive but I`m going to play a short bit of it.



REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): I look to my left and there she is, Ilhan Omar. And I said well, she doesn`t have a backpack, we should be fine.


HAYES: So, you got it there, right? The suggestion is that she`s a terrorist and she`s going to blow them all up, but she doesn`t have a backpack so few. Thanks to CNN`s Andrew Kaczynski, we now know this appears to be part of a little routine Boebert does. Here`s a video for an event in Staten Island in September.


BOEBERT: One of my staffers on his first day with me got into an elevator in the Capitol. And in that -- in the elevator we were joined by Ilhan Omar. Well, it was just us three in there. And I looked over and I said, well, look in there, it`s the jihad squad.

I do have to say, she didn`t have a backpack, she wasn`t dropping it and running, so we`re good.


HAYES: Same racist made-up story she told before, just replacing the officer with a staffer. We reached out to Congresswoman Boebert about this latest video but have not heard back. And while Republican House leadership has done close to nothing about this, some Republicans have spoken up, and it`s not gone well for them.

Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina who represent the district that is historically very conservative, came out and condemned Boebert`s comments. Her Republican colleague, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Green then called her the trash in the GOP conference adding "She`s not conservative. She`s pro-abort." And suggesting Mace "just go hang with her real gal pals, the jihad squad."

Mace responded, "I`m a pro-life fiscal conservatives who was attacked by the left all weekend. What I`m not as a religious bigot or racist."

Now, the thing is, Congresswoman Mace is sort of an interesting character. She is trying to straddle what I call the Kinzinger line, OK. She`s trying to be a member of the Republican Party who is not in the kind of never- Trump part of it, with Kinzinger and Cheney, but it`s also like I guess against open disgusting racism and bigotry. And it`s just not a lot of ground there.

That place where it`s not actually OK to sling around religious and ethnic slurs with delight at fellow Members of Congress.

Stuart Stevens worked on Republican political campaigns for most of his adult life, now advisor to Lincoln Project, author of the book It Was All Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump and he joins me now.

I guess first the infraction here. I mean, what`s really telling to me about the Boebert stuff is that this is a -- this is a rehearsed line and that it sells in the room which is why she keeps telling it.

STUART STEVENS, ADVISOR, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: Look, I don`t think that she come as a surprise. The Republican Party nominated a guy who called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the country in December of 2015 which if the Republican Party is supposed to stand for anything, it`s the constitution, and that act is clearly against the constitution. It`s a religious test. How do you know if somebody`s Muslim? You have to ask what their religion is. And the party just went along with it.

And you know, when I was active in the party we always said, you don`t negotiate with terrorism which is basically a way of saying you don`t negotiate with evil. And this is just evil. You can`t meet it halfway. You can`t reason with it. It`s just straight up evil. And that has permeated the Republican Party.

I mean trying to end the peaceful transition of power which is what all of this after the election was about is evil. And you have to call that out.

HAYES: Yeah. And that`s -- the point about -- it`s such a good point about the Muslim ban because that was really to me -- that was the moment of that campaign where we had entered into a new world. It was just obviously the case that if you replace Muslim with another religious group, if you said - - if a candidate for America -- President gets up and gets -- not a single Jew should set foot in this country --


HAYES: Obviously, despicable behavior and completely disqualifying from all public life. And Trump says it with Muslims and it`s not disqualifying. And so, the die was cast then. But the straddling is the thing that Kevin McCarthy is trying to do, right? I mean, it`s -- what you get is just a lot of silence about this. People are just going to sort of let it go because speaking up like Nancy Mace did is just going to put you in a worse position a weaker position politically.

STEVENS: Yeah. I mean, look, this isn`t unusual. How often have we seen people be silent in the face of evil particularly ambitious politicians who think that they can manage this? I mean, this is 1930s Germany. You know, South Africa had troops and reconciliation. Some of these people in the Republican Party want to have reconciliation without truth. It doesn`t work.

You have to call this out. You have to say, I will not be part of a party that mocks other religions. That is a fundamentally anti-constitutional effort to put autocracy in America. You just can`t do it. And this is why I say that you have to burn the party to the ground. You have to start over.

This is -- there`s not a conservative philosophy here. Nobody in America can tell you what the Republican Party stands for in any conservative sense. There`s no logic there. There`s no coherent form of government or theory of government which is why they don`t really participate in governing. They`re just in the business of electing Democrats which is what a cartel is really, not a political party.


HAYES: Well, I think -- of electing Republicans -- I mean, I think that in the case of Chris Christie, right, and Nancy Mace, I mean Christie, these are different -- you occasionally watch different politicians try to come up with some sort of like, for lack of a better word, third way, right? So, there`s -- there are folks like yourself, there are Kinzinger and Cheney, there are people who I would call sort of like never-Trumpers who are sort of -- who consider themselves Republicans or Conservatives who are opposed to Trump. I think you`ve left the party and Cheney and Kinzinger haven`t.

And then there`s the attempts by Christie and Nancy Mace to find some sort of middle ground or something that`s, you know, Trump adjacent but critical in certain ways and it just strikes me that even if there was a market for it among the voters of the general population, within the party itself, there`s just no demand for that essentially.

STEVENS: No. This is -- the party is a Donald Trump party. I mean, this is sometimes -- I think that we make the mistake of looking at the Republican Party and saying how did they go wrong here, how did they, you know, take this wrong turn or something? How did they get hijacked? None of that happened. This is what the Republican Party wants to be.

This is why i was really forced when I confronted this myself which was not a pleasant experience to call this book I wrote It Was All A Lie, because I don`t know any other way to reconcile this. You don`t abandon deeply held beliefs in a few years. It just means you didn`t deeply hold them. And listen, Chris Christie, you know, I love the guy. He`s a fighter. I think he should fight and go straight at Donald Trump.

And you can`t say that we`re just going to ignore the past. It doesn`t -- it doesn`t work. I mean, it`s -- it never works.

HAYES: That`s a perfect example of what I`m talking about. This idea that like my proposal is not to talk about the central defining questions facing the party in American democracy and focus on, you know, we don`t like inflation or Joe Biden is like, that`s not going to -- that`s not going to cut it, buddy.

STEVENS: It`s not the world that we live in. It`s a world that I like to live in, I think. I`d like to have two parties that had opposing philosophies of government so we could get back to talking about these differences. But that`s not what we have for now. We have is one party that is for democracy and we have one party that`s for autocracy. And all the rest is just noise. All these ads that we made about capital gains tax and health care, none of that matters. The central truth is, is American democracy going to survive?

HAYES: Stuart Stevens, great to have you on. Thank you.

STEVENS: Thank you.

HAYES: When we come back, the latest on the deadly shooting in a Michigan high school. I`ll talk to Sen. Chris Murphy about why he says Congress has become part of America`s gun violence problem.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): This only happens in the United States of America. There`s no other nation in the high-income world in which kids worry about being shot when they go to school. It happens here in America because we choose to let it happen.



HAYES: This afternoon, a 15-year-old student at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit open fire on his classmates with a semi-automatic handgun, killing three people and wounding eight more. The suspected shooter surrendered himself to police and has been taken into custody.

This evening, the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, addressed the stark reality in very emotional terms.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): This is a uniquely American problem that we need to address. At this juncture, I think we need to focus on the community, the families, supporting all the first responders including incredible people at our hospitals that are working so hard to save the lives of those who are fighting for their lives right not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I can tell you`re so deep -- and you should be. You`re a mom and your human being. You`re so deeply affected by this. Talk to us about that.

WHITMER: I think this is every parent`s worst nightmare.


HAYES: It is an American problem. Shootings like this happen, if not frequently, at least regularly, more regularly than they should across the country. Which is why Senator Chris Murphy, whose home state of Connecticut was a site of the horrific Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, took to the Senate floor tonight visibly angry.


MURPHY: Do not lecture us about the sanctity, the importance of life when 100 people every single day are losing their lives to guns, when kids go to school fearful that they won`t return home because a classmate will turn a gun on them, when it is in our control whether this happens. You care about life? This only happens in the United States of America. There`s no other nation in the high-income world in which kids worry about being shot when they go to school.

It happens here in America because we choose to let it happen. We`re not unlucky. This is purposeful. This is a choice made by the United States Senate to sit on our hands and do nothing while kids die.


HAYES: And joining me now is Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut. Senator, where were you when you heard about this and decided to take to the floor?

MURPHY: So, I think I was in my office on my way to preside over the Senate. We take turns sitting in the presiding chair. I was there this evening to listen to Republicans lecture the body on the sanctity of life. Given the abortion case before the Supreme Court tomorrow morning, Republicans were coming down in droves to talk about the importance of protecting and defending life.


And on my drive home, I just became furious sort of thinking about how their concern for life ends at birth and doesn`t extend to the kids who are showing up to elementary and middle and high schools every single day fearing for their lives. And so, I turned around my car, I went back to the Senate floor this evening, and I talked about the fact that there are 100 people every single day dying from guns. There are millions of kids who go to school every single day fearing for their life.

On top of the trauma of COVID, we are now layering on top of children, once again, the fear that they won`t emerge from their day in the classroom alive. And I just at my wit`s end about why Republicans concern for life seems so limited when these choices that we could make to try to protect our kids are so obvious, are so politically popular, are so possible.

HAYES: Yes. And I what I liked about your speech and the book -- actually, wrote on this -- he wrote a book on violence. It`s quite, quite good, is that, you know, we -- there`s the subsection of school shootings, which are the most horrific conceivable instantiation of this kind of violence.

But that`s part of a broader phenomenon which we don`t necessarily cover on this show every night. It happens across the country, day in day out, night in night out, of hundreds of people being shot by guns. And it happens at a level that doesn`t happen anywhere else, as you said in wealthy democracies.

MURPHY: It`s happening at a rate, Chris, right now that we have not seen in decades. 2020 was the deadliest year in our lifetimes. We saw a 40 % increase in gun murders, which was not coincidental to a 25 percent increase in gun sales.

So, we are flooding the market with firearms that we choose not to regulate in the way that every other high-income nation does. We have a Republican Party, as you talked about earlier in the show, that is engaged in the celebration and fetishization of violence.

And we have a president, our prior president, who spent four years sort of making us fearful of each other, making us think that we have to arm ourselves in order to protect ourselves from the other. It`s a toxic combination that has led to the highest rates of gun violence in our lifetime. And it`s time that we refuse to accept it. It`s time that we do something about it.

HAYES: You know, what`s truly profoundly bizarre about this moment, as you cite the statistics is that is the kind of polarization and political valence of the -- of the problem or the question depending how it`s phrased. Republicans would love to talk your ear off about crime. That crime is going up, crime is a problem.

If you think gun violence or interpersonal gun violence, it`s like well -- but that`s the most severe form of crime. It`s the thing that we should be most worried about is when people take up arms against each other when they -- when they maim or kill each other and the main way they do that is with guns. And yet, for some reason, if you phrase it that way, it`s like, well, that`s not really a political problem, like shoplifting in San Francisco. That`s a political problem, but people shooting each other is not.

MURPHY: Yes, I mean, listen, there`s just something fundamentally different about violence done with a gun in that it often is the last violence that has ever done to you. Your life ends. And, you know, there`s the story I tell in the book about the moment when American violence rates depart from the rest of the world where we become the global outlier.

And it`s when the handgun is invented. America decides not to regulate the handgun, other countries in Europe do. And all of a sudden in this country, disputes that used to end up in a fistfight or a shoving match end up in a homicide. And that`s the difference in this country.

When kids start -- when their brains break, they have access to an assault weapon, and they can turn it on their classmates. In other countries, kids brains still break, but they don`t have access to military-style weapons. And well, some kids may get hurt, it`s by a punch in the face, not at the end of a gun.

HAYES: Yes, I have to say also, as we prepare for those arguments at the Supreme Court, the sanctity of life, the spectacle of the collective shrug by so much the Republican Party at the continued staggering unfathomable toll of the pandemic is the most morally shocking thing that I`ve lived through in my adult professional life, it continues to be, and really renders the sanctity of life talk exceedingly thin. Senator Chris Murphy of the state of Connecticut, thank you very much.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.